We live in an indoor society. We spend the bulk of our time in the comfort and security of a building, either work or home. Time spent outdoors is often limited to our commute between buildings.
Research has found that we spend about 90 percent, or 21 hours, of our time indoors (Scribner, 2018). Given the extensive amount of time that we enjoy within buildings, how can we make them comfortable and healthy over the long term?
One answer to this question lies with the quality of air in our homes. Here at Applewood Air, we have many resources and in-house expertise that can to support and improve air quality in your home.
Another answer to this question lies in the design and layout of the living spaces that we occupy over the course of our lifetimes. In this blog post, we will share a few high-level insights to get you thinking about how to bring joy into your living spaces for all family members.
Universal Design and Your Living Spaces
Close your eyes and imagine the primary living spaces in your home. Now ask yourself how well these spaces meet the needs of the youngest and oldest members of your family.
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) addresses the concept of universal design in living spaces in this fact-sheet. They define living spaces as those parts of the home where people meet, sleep, relax, and so on. Universal design is the ‘design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size and ability’.
Planning for different needs when renovating or custom building your home can allow you to live in your home well into your old age. When we plan for the long-term with our living spaces, we can reduce costly future renovations. It makes our living spaces adaptable and safe now and into the future.
Design Features to Consider
If you are renovating or building a new home, there are a few key design features that contribute to joyful long-term living spaces. For example, consider the impact of the hallways, doors, and furniture. Can hallways be easily navigated by those with limited mobility or vision? Are the doors easy to open for those with physical limitations?
Furniture that is sturdy and stable can be helpful for anyone in the family who has trouble getting up from a seated position. Although you may not immediately imagine this as an important part of the overall accessibility of your home’s design – you will fast become aware of it with Grandma or Grandpa’s first visit!
If you are planning to renovate your current home or build a new home, universal design is a useful concept to consider.
Ensure that your investment into this redesign process contributes to a positive, adaptable space that can be joyful for all family members now and into the future. Our society spends so much time in buildings and our homes – it’s important that they meet our needs!